Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley

Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903) was an English poet, critic and editor. His literary reputation rests almost entirely on Invictus poem, which was written in 1875 and published in 1888.

Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley
Portrait of William Ernest Henley by Leslie Ward published in Vanity Fair 26 November

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Be with those who help your being By Rumi

8 Comments


  1. This is the poem that is said to have inspired and strengthened Mandela during his long imprisonment. The final two lines of the last stanza are so empowering.

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  2. I love this poem. It showed up on Fearsomebeard back in January. I never tire of seeing, reading and feeling it again. I thank whatever gods may be, for my unconquerable soul.

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